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Highly Branched Copolymers with Degradable Bridges for Antifouling Coatings

Yang, Hongjun, Chang, He, Zhang, Qian, Song, Yiye, Jiang, Li, Jiang, Qimin, Xue, Xiaoqiang, Huang, Wenyan, Ma, Chunfeng, Jiang, Bibiao
ACS applied materials & interfaces 2020 v.12 no.14 pp. 16849-16855
algae, antifouling activities, antifouling agents, coatings, composite polymers, lactones, polymerization, seawater
The antifouling properties of traditional self-polishing marine antifouling coatings are mainly achieved based on their hydrolysis-sensitive side groups or the degradable polymer main chains. Here, we prepared a highly branched copolymer for self-polishing antifouling coatings, in which the primary polymer chains are bridged by degradable fragments (poly-ε-caprolactone, PCL). Owing to the partial or complete degradation of PCL fragments, the remaining coating on the surface can be broken down and eroded by seawater. Finally, the polymeric surface is self-polished and self-renewed. The designed highly branched copolymers were successfully prepared by reversible complexation mediated polymerization (RCMP), and their primary main chains had an Mₙ of approximately 3410 g·mol–¹. The hydrolytic degradation results showed that the degradation of the copolymer was controlled, and the degradation rate increased with increasing contents of degradable fragments. The algae settlement assay tests indicated that the copolymer itself has some antibiofouling ability. Moreover, the copolymer can serve as a controlled release matrix for antifoulant 4,5-dichloro-2-octylisothiazolone (DCOIT), and the release rate increases with the contents of degradable fragments. The marine field tests confirmed that these copolymer-based coatings exhibited excellent antibiofouling ability for more than 3 months. The current copolymer is derived from commonly used monomers and an easily conducted polymerization method. Hence, we believe this method may offer innovative insights into marine antifouling applications.